XFL 2020 Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the XFL launching?

An opportunity exists to re-imagine America’s favorite sport by putting fans at the center, while leveraging a changing media landscape and evolving consumer viewing behavior.

Who owns and runs the XFL?

Vince McMahon is personally funding this venture through Alpha Entertainment, a new private entity.

Will teams be owned by the league or will teams be owned and run by independent entities?

The new XFL is a single entity structure with plans for eight teams at launch, all of which will be owned by the league.

When is the XFL launching?

The new XFL is scheduled to launch in early 2020.

Where will teams be located?

The selection of cities will take place over the coming months, and a mix of major and mid-major markets in all regions of the U.S. are possibilities.

Have team nicknames been determined?

Team identities and logos will be revealed after cities are selected.

When will games be played?

Games are being planned for Sundays.

How many games will be played? What’s the postseason structure?

Plans include each team playing a 10-game regular season, with a postseason consisting of two semifinal games followed by a championship game.

How big will team rosters be?

Active rosters will have approximately 40 players.

What will players’ salary structure look like?

The players’ salary structure is still in development, but players will be paid to play, and paid more to win.

Will there be testing for illicit drugs and PEDs?

The XFL’s comprehensive player health and wellness policy will include drug testing.

Reference: XFL.com

Why would anyone think TO is suitable for the XFL?

It came as no suprise to see that “The Sporting News” has asked Terrel Owens if he would play in the XFL.  After all, the media is all about generating clicks, and a Terrel Owens story has to generate a few just on name recognition alone. However, Owen’s response was quite predictable.

“Absolutely not,” Owens told Sporting News on Wednesday. “The XFL is two years away. Vince McMahon, he had a run at that in 2001 and it didn’t really do so well. He’s had a number of years to try to figure it out, and has only two years before it starts up to put it back on the right track.  I don’t foresee it being a great success unless they make some drastic changes to bring together some quality talent and bring together a quality game. That’s what it’s about. He can’t make a mockery of football. He’s looking at it like a business, but you need to have quality with that.” Reference: http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/news/terrell-owens-xfl-return-vince-mcmahon-wide-receiver/bmhztel2bujp1wt46ztslnx7h

Why would anyone think that a 44-year old Terrel Owens was a candidate for the XFL? Sure, he’ s fit, but there are plenty of talented 20-year olds that will be more than suitable for play in the XFL.

Categorize this story as “bashing the XFL”. We’ve seen it before, and we will see plenty more  between now and 2020.

That being said, you’d think TO would be happy to see increased opportunities for young football talent to play the game we all love.

XFL Announcement Conference Call

Below is a written transcript of the XFL Conference Call done with reporters on 25 Jan 2018.

Questions are in bold, with Vince McMahon’s answer, in italics.

  1. Brian Fritz, Sporting News: Vince, I guess the big question now is why do you believe now is the right time to bring back the XFL?
    • Well, football is America’s favourite sport. There is 7 months of no football, and uh, there is 70 million fans, so why not now? Now is a perfect opportunity. I’ve always wanted to bring it back.
  2. What do you think of a lesson you learned from the first time you did the XFL to what you will do now
    • Well I think the most important thing we learned with the older XFL and now the new XFL is the quality of the play. But frankly, we only had a short time in the past to put everything together. We have two years now to really get it right. It’s the quality of the play.
  3. Joe Flint, Wall Street Journal: Hi, Vince talk a little about your media plans. Will you be looking to put this, offer this as a package to the broadcast or cable networks? Or for your own streaming service? What do you think there?
    • Well again, as we reimagine the game we re-imagine the way we distribute the game. I think it’s important to consider the standard way we do this. I also think it’s important to consider the new way, so it’ll probably gonna be a combination of any number of forms of presentation.
  4. Have you had any initial talks with anyone?
    • No, no initial talks not really. We just know interest is there
  5. Brian Campbell, CBS Sports: How will this announcement affect your day to day control of creative decisions of WWE?
    • It won’t affect it at all.
  6. Will you be staying in the same role completely?
    • Yes I will continue to be the CEO and Chairman of the board of WWE.
  7. What type of opportunities do you see available for WWE talent, broadcasters, wrestlers to cross over between brands
    • Thank you for asking, there will be no crossover whatsoever in terms of talent or anything like that from the WWE to the new XFL
  8. Darren Rovell, ESPN: I guess the question I have is what is your role as far as being out in front? Obviously you had a presence in 2001. What will people see of you?
    • Quite frankly this may be the last you see of me in terms of being out front. We’re gonna hire people who really know what they are doing. It won’t be me.
  9. Chris Palmeri, Bloomberg News: Can you say if the controversy about bending knee and the ratings slump that the NFL has had, seeing it play a role in you launching this now?
    • No, I’ve always wanted to relaunch, and have this plan for sometime
  10. Why are you not doing it this time through the WWE?
    • Quite frankly, 100 million dollars to start with is too rich for WWE as far as investments concern
  11. Paul Newberry, AP: I assume this will be the same timeframe you mentioned out of season I assume a spring league with the same timeframe as the old XFL?
    • There will be a spring league, it’ll start end of January, early February and play through. Not exactly a spring league.
  12. Neil Best, Newsday: In terms of the ownership model, will it be franchise or owned all 8 teams? Any idea what cities will be involved?
    • It’ll be single entity, we’re not gonna have the franchise model. We are way away from announcing cities. We are doing research as cities concern, and that’ll be something we announce in the future.
  13. Emma Ockerman, Bloomberg News: I wanted to ask, I know that data analysis and research have been a big part of expanding the WWE Network. Can you explain a little bit about the research backing the demanding of the XFL?
    • Yes, well I’m not gonna make reference to any research that makes reference to WWE, and we’ll get into the research and what have you going forward. We have done a lot of it thus far, with more to come in terms of putting all of this together.
  14. Jackie Waddel, CNN: My question is about concussions and CTE. Obviously this is a huge point of concern with the NFL right now, and getting attention amount fans and the general public. Do you have any plans or ideas about how your going to keep players safe?
    • Reimagining the game of football means you are reimagining it on all levels. This means safety and we will make it as safe as possible. It’s still football, but we will make it as safe as possible.
  15. Any specific measures that you can say?
    • No, not anything specifically except we’re gonna bring in experts in these fields. We’re gonna listen to medical experts and (?) their advice.
  16. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union Tribune: Will President Trump support this in any way even if it’s just with statements? And can you speak to San Diego as a market?
    • I have no idea whether or not President Trump will support this, and let me use this as an opportunity to say that as far as our league is concerned, it’ll have nothing to do with politics. Absolutely nothing to do with social issues either. We’re there to play football. We want really good football. When they tune in, I don’t know they want political issues. They want good football, and that’s what we are going to deliver. And as far as San Diego is concerned, we don’t know yet.
  17. Richard Deitsch, SI: Vince, why are you not concerned with there being oversaturation of football as a product, with the NFL to college football, to CFL to arena league.
    • There’s 7 months where there is no football on the grid iron, and I think if the demand is there, and as well I think the quality of the play. This is going to be a different game, a fan centric game. It will be faster, it will just be a better football game than what everyone else is accustomed to. I think we are going to make our own demand.
  18. John Lassiete: Are you going to suspend players if they have a political opinion, is there going to be no free speech?
    • Well I think this: You know the rules and regulations, as I mentioned. Your gonna have a booklet, whatever it is to make sure all the players understand the rules, as well as everyone else. We intend for everyone to abide by those rules. As the national anthem is concerned which is where you might be going now, I think this: The national anthem is a time honoured tradition, and it played to this day and many many years in the past prior to most athletic events. In our country and other countries. So whatever our rules are, is whatever everyone will abide by. There is plenty of opportunity that the players and coaches can express themselves in terms of personal views as far as social aspects are concerned. Whether it’s Facebook or whatever. But again, we are here to play football. That’s everyone’s job.
  19. Roger Simmons, Atlanta Sentinel: Could you tell us, do you have in your mind a criteria the type of cities you are looking for? Cities that don’t have an NFL franchise?
    • That’s not the criteria. We’re gonna go where fans want us to go. Where there is more interest, and of course there is a lot of factors. We are nowhere near that right now.
  20. John Shumway, KDKA TV Pittsburgh: Are you going to be targeting places that already had the existing NFL type of facilities?
    • Without a doubt, you wanna play football where football is played. And the stadiums. There may be a situation where we play a baseball stadium when a football stadium isn’t available in that market, but nonetheless the intent is the play most specifically where other NFL teams play?
  21. Is Pittsburgh on your radar?
    • Every city, I love Pittsburgh. Every city is on our radar.
  22. John Healy, New York Daily News: You said you wanted to make the game safe, but you also want to make it faster. Is this time to bring back any bigger hits? How are you going to make it possible if it’s gonna be a faster game?
    • Well again, I think that there may not be a halftime for one example, we’re gonna listen to football experts. Their gonna tell us. The goal is to make it a much faster game. Sitting and watching a much faster game is leborious sometimes, sometimes it’s not depending on the quality of the play. But, we intend to have a much faster game. We’re gonna try to get to two hours, that’s our goal. That’s an experience that I think most people would enjoy and it doesn’t take up too much of their time.
  23. Steve Feitl, Asbury Park Press: Obviously the XFL was in the headlines last year when the ESPN documentary came out early in the year. Did the reaction to that play into this decision at all?
    • No, we have been thinking about doing the XFL for many many years. I do think Charlie Ebersol did a great job capturing the interest and the appreciation for each other that Dick Ebersol and I have had and have today. He’s a wonderful human being and we had a blast together in the old XFL.
  24. Did you have any thoughts to giving it a different name this time around?
    • Um, we did, but we kept coming back to the equity of the XFL from a marketing standpoint it was already there. We think it’s a cool name.
  25. Neil Docking, The Daily Mirror: You mentioned there is no TV partner as of yet, will you be looking to have a social media streaming component? And are you exploring broadcasting the product internationally, in the UK for example where there is a growing audience?
    • Yes, I think again, all options are available to us. And I think that’s something that was never there before. We can do any number of things, or a combination of things as well. In terms of traditional platforms, as well as digital and what have you. So, there are many options that are available to us that weren’t before. And again, by simplifying the rules, it makes the XFL (a) more global friendly environment.
  26. Tony Maglio, The Wrap: Just a clarification, will you allow nicknames on the back of jerseys like He Hate Me, and number two ‘cause you mentioned the national anthem thing, just to clarify, will it be in the rules that you have to stand for the national anthem?
    • Well first question I’m not sure about the individuality of the He Hate Me, we’re not there yet, but it’s amazing that people remember that, Rod Smart. That was extraordinary. Whether we do that again, we are gonna listen to football experts, we’re gonna listen to what the audience, what the fans want. As far as the national anthem is concerned, I think again it’s a time honoured tradition to stand and appreciate the national anthem with any sport. In any country they do that, so I think it would be appropriate if we did that.
  27. Ryan Wooley, News Radio 950: You mentioned about streaming the games and the broadcast network, is there a specific network you want to place it on? Is there a specific broadcasting team, national announcers? Local guys? How is that gonna work?
    • That’s all to be determined. There’s interest with everyone. There’s interest in traditional networks, there’s interested in a lot of areas. And again, we can have a different feed and different customized feed for anyone. By doing that, you can appeal to the older audience, and a younger audience as well. You can give them what they want and how they want it.
  28. You say your still looking for teams and places to place the teams, do you see old teams coming back? Or will everything be all new?
    • I think everything will be all new, but if theres something from the past that you want to bring back, we aren’t constrained to do that. We are reimagining the XFL as well.
  29. Jimmie Traina, SI.com: Will any invites be submitted to players like Johnny Maziel, Tim Tebow, Colin Kaepernick?
    • Well I think this, that one of the things that I said was the quality of the human being is very important and just as important as the quality of the player, what I mean by that is you want someone who does not have any criminality whatsoever associating with them. In the XFL, even if you have a DUI, you will not play in the XFL. That will probably eliminate some of them, not all of them. If Tim Tebow wants to play, he could very well play.
  30. Rob Wollard, AFP: Could you clarify on the players that will be allowed to play in the league, would Colin Kaepernick be welcome in the league?
    • Again I think anyone who plays the game of football well and meets our criteria in terms of the quality of the human being as well as the player, why not? As long as everyone abides by the rules as laid down.
  31. Just to clarify, you would have to standing during the national anthem?
    • Your gonna know them (the rules) before you sign on to the XFL, so I assume anyone who signs on is going to abide by those rules.
  32. Jim Varsallone, Miami Herald: Any thought with broadcasting with Jim Ross, Jessie Ventura, do you know if there will be a crossover?
    • There will be no crossover whatsoever.
  33. Justin Barrasso: What drives you for this process?
    • I think this: I’m gonna hire professionals, people who really know what they are doing. I’m gonna take a backseat to that, I’m not gonna be out front.
  34. Did you seek her opinion (Linda McMahon) on this decision?
    • No.
  35. Will there be specific differences on the field between the XFL and the NFL?
    • I think there will be a lot of differences. The big difference will be what do the fans want.

(Transcript reference: http://www.wrestlingheads.com/?p=18381)

New XFL Kicks Off In 2020 (Official Announcement)

STAMFORD, CONN. – Professional football will be reimagined when the new XFL kicks off in early 2020, Vince McMahon announced in a live stream event today.

The XFL will deliver a fan-centric, innovative experience, including shorter, fast-paced games and a family-friendly environment, complemented by cross-platform viewing options and real-time fan engagement.

Plans for the XFL at launch include eight teams, 40-man active rosters and a 10-week regular-season schedule, with a postseason consisting of two semifinal playoff games and a championship game.

“The new XFL is an exciting opportunity to reimagine America’s favorite sport,” said McMahon. “As we move towards kickoff, we look forward to listening and implementing innovative ideas from players, coaches, medical experts, technology executives, the media and most importantly football fans.”

McMahon, a visionary and an accomplished business executive, is personally funding this venture through Alpha Entertainment, a new private entity. McMahon will continue as WWE Chairman & CEO.

Relive the full streamed announcement at XFL.com and YouTube (youtube.com/xflofficial). For the latest updates, follow the XFL on Facebook (facebook.com/xfl), Twitter (@xfl2020) and Instagram (@xfl), and be sure to join in on the conversation using #XFL2020.

Message to the Sports World: Don’t Write Off the XFL

(20 April 2001) — As the first ever XFL season comes to a closing, let’s take some time to recollect some of the many exciting moments of the inaugural season.

In the first televised game in XFL history, the game of football was presented to Sin City. In this opening day shutout, the world was introduced to none other than “He Hate Me”, Rod Smart. This nickname took off to become one of the most popular nicknames in modern day sports. And, although many people have come up with their own version of his nickname, Rod Smart proved that he was the one hated by many.

In the second weekend, names like John Avery, Tommy Maddox and Jermaine Copeland were uncovered as the Chicago Enforcers and Los Angeles Xtreme took it to each other for four quarters and two overtimes.

Week number three proved that Mike Pawlawski was one of the best quarterbacks in the league as he and Terry Battle fought back late in the game as the San Francisco Demons scored 13 points to defeat the Memphis Maniax.

Jim Druckenmiller introduced himself to the XFL world as the Memphis Maniax beat the Xtreme in what was the messiest and wettest game of the year.

In week number five, Jeff Brohm and the Rage proved themselves to be for real as they became the only 5-0 team in the league. This week also proved to be the turning point for the Chicago Enforcers regular season as a last second LeShon Johnson touchdown defeated the Dealers of Doom, Las Vegas Outlaws 15-13.

Thinking they were on a role, the Chicago Enforcers traveled to Memphis who soon brought Chicago back down to earth with a last second Druckenmiller touchdown pass to Hobbs. ‘Druck’ also passed for over 400 yards in week six.

On March 18, the Orlando Rage finally experienced what a loss felt like. At the hands of Tommy Maddox and the Xtreme, Orlando was demolished by a score of 31-6. Orlando also lost Jeff Brohm for the rest of the season, which later proves to be fatal to the team’s success.

Week number eight…the Birmingham Bolts become the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention and the Orlando Rage become the first team to clinch a bid for the million dollars waiting at the end.

Only two weeks left and the New York/New Jersey Hitmen need just one victory to clinch their play-off spot. But, the Enforcers have other plans as Kevin McDougal and LeShon Johnson carry the team into a second place tie in the East Division.

The final week of the season, and still three play-off seeds are open. Los Angeles and Chicago help themselves with big wins over San Francisco and Orlando, respectively. Due to a Las Vegas loss, San Francisco is in the play-offs as well.

The first ever XFL play-offs…as expected, these games proved to be exciting! Like usual, the XFL comes through again with tons of action as the San Francisco comes back from a 16-0 deficit to defeat the team with the best record, Orlando Rage. And, in the rematch of the best game of the Inaugural Season, the Chicago Enforcers literally hand the game over to the Xtreme in Los Angeles. This sets up a tie-breaker between the San Francisco Demons and Los Angeles Xtreme in the ‘Million Dollar Game’.

Recalling some of these games or moments might have given you goosebumps. As you know, all of the games in the first ever XFL season were very exciting and most of them came down to last minute touchdowns, or last minute turnovers. Even with a short, 10-week season, the XFL provided enough big plays and memorable moments to last a long time.

This league has a lot to be proud of as it broke barriers in many aspects of sporting broadcasts. Although it does not admit its liking of the XFL, NFL officials have gone on the record saying it will incorporate some of the great ideas the XFL has introduced to the game of football. The XFL must take pride in its accomplishments, look at its strong spots and improve its weaknesses, a task which is already under way.

Even though the Chicago Enforcers were beat by the Xtreme, I am proud of the effort my team put forth this season. Coming back from an 0-4 start to make the play-offs is no easy task. But, they did it and gave Chicago something to talk about in the sports society.

With one full season under our belts, we, the die-hard fans of the new football league, must all stand proud. The media was against us before we even started the season, and we stood tall drawing better television ratings than MLS, golf, NHL, arena football, NBA on NBC, the NHL All-Star game, and the NFL’s All-Pro game. More season tickets were sold in its inaugural season than what was anticipated, thus the league averaged an astounding 23,000 fans in attendance per game. Not bad for a start-up league!!

Personally, I am proud to be an XFL fan and will continue to wear my Chicago Enforcers gear in the off-season. I look forward to the day the Enforcers main office calls my house to ask me if I want to renew my season tickets…my response will be “Hell Yeah!” I am proud to admit that I was part of those 1.6, 1.7, etc television ratings every Saturday night on NBC and Sunday night on UPN. And, I will be the first one to stick it to the media when our league, the fans league, the XFL, makes its return in 2002.

As this article and the XFL Inaugural Season comes to an end, my friends, it is now time to go back to my “Chicago Fans Only Enforcers Supporters” article. To my team, the Chicago Enforcers, I now applaud for the effort you put forth this season making every minute of every game exciting. You turned a dismal season into one that opened the eyes of an entire league. And, although you fell short in the end, I continue to applaud and support the XFL…

…and, I ask those true, die-hard XFL fans to do this with me upon the completion of this Saturday’s ‘Million Dollar Game’. After the game, I will remove my Chicago Enforcers hat, tip it to Vince McMahon and his XFL staff for putting together such an awesome, entertaining football league, a league that actually cares about us, the people in the stands or watching on television. To Vince McMahon and his staff, I can’t wait until the second season.

And, to the rest of the world, don’t write off the XFL!

— Troy Pringle – ChiEnforcers1@xflboard.com

The XFL’s Xclamation Point On Saturday

The football experts predicted that LA would make it to the championship. San Fran wasn’t expected to be there.

(19 April 2001) — It’s been a wild season for the XFL. The misunderstood league has had a lot of ups and downs in it’s first year. No sports league has ever recieved more scrutiny then the XFL. The league is trying to carve out a niche for itself in a sporting world that is not willing to accept it. Saturday Night at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the LA Xtreme are pumped up to claim one million dollars and the XFL’s very first championship. They face the league’s most popular team and their California rival, the San Fransisco Demons. The football experts predicted that LA would make it to the championship. San Fran wasn’t expected to be there.

There are so many storylines developing for this game. The playoffs were a mild success for the league this past weekend. The ratings were up on both NBC and UPN. The NBC telecast went up 20 percent and the UPN game on Easter sunday went up 5 percent. With all that being stated, it appears that the Million Dollar Game will be the XFL’s final broadcast on NBC, at least in primetime. NBC, part owner of the league, has a iron-clad contract with the XFL for 2 seasons. If NBC were to part ways with the league, they would have to pay a penalty somewhere in the range of 10 to 30 million dollars. That sum would cover their end of the bargain for the second season of the XFL. Unless NBC moves the game to a better timeslot or to one of it’s cable partners. This is it, Saturday Night is most likely, the XFL’s final broadcast on NBC. They wanted the XFL to save saturday nights and to help replace their NFL loss. It didn’t work. The expectation level was too high for a brand new sports league.

So here we are, On NBC, Saturday Night at 8pm eastern, 5pm pacific, 1 million dollars is up for grabs and the future of these players pro careers is also on the line. The winner walks away with the XFL’s very first championship and 1 million dollars, the loser gets absolutely nothing. The pressure level will reach epic proportions on saturday night. The LA Xtreme and Demons have met twice this year. At Pac Bell Park in Week One, the Demons beat LA in dramatic fashion with a game winning field goal, in what was perhaps one of the XFL’s best games this season. In week 10, LA avenged that loss with a 24 to nothing shout out at home. Round 3 begins this saturday night with all the marbles up for grabs. The XFL’s offensive player of the year, Tommy Maddox has finally matured into a quality quarterback. The UCLA star left college at the tender age of 19 and was drafted by the Denver Broncos. He was brought in to eventually replace Denver Icon John Elway. Not a good situation for him. Maddox ended up as a backup for the Giants and Rams. He barely played and was jettisoned out of the league. The XFL and Al Luginbill provided Tommy Maddox with the opportunity to prove himself as a leader. Luginbill’s history with developing quarterbacks is very good. The evidence: Kurt Warner in NFL Europe. Maddox was not even projected as LA’s starter. The Xtreme selected Scott Milanovich with their first ever draft pick. Maddox outplayed him in camp and the rest is history. Tommy is now being courted by the NY Jets, the Chiefs and several other NFL teams. This may be his last ever XFL game. If he falls on his face, he may ruin his chance to get back to the NFL. Talk about pressure. The Xtreme is the league’s most talented team. No one would argue that point. The Xtreme wideouts are very talented and this will be their stage to prove themselves. Peyton Manning’s favorite target at Tennessee, Jeremaine Copeland has been the best pro wideout outside of the NFL the last two years. Copeland broke the pro record for receptions in a game last year with NFL Europe. This year, He has led the XFL in receiving. Copeland is joined by Kansas State Star, Darnell McDonald. McDonald averaged a touchdown a game this season thanks to his 6’4 220 pound frame. These two great young talents are joined by young NFL vets, Damon Gibson and Damon Dunn. In the backfield, Saladin McCollough is emerging as a great young back. He is backed up young NFL vets, Ken Oxendine and Rashan Sheehee. The offensive line is led by a monster in Jerry Crafts. The nearly 400 pound tackle has provided great protection this season along by his side has been good young pro prospects in Bobby Singh and Chris Brymer. The LA defense has NFL vets like Leomont Evans, Jamal Duff and Ron Carpenter but their strength is their youth. Al Luginbill attempts to add another championship this saturday to his mantle.

The most fascinating story by far in this game is Demons Head Coach, Jim Skipper. Skipper left a cushy job in the NFL as Giants assistant head coach/running backs coach to join the XFL. He left right before the 2000 NFL Season to pursue his dream. Skipper watched as his former team, the Giants got to a superbowl last year. Skipper left the Giants becuase he wanted so badly to become a head coach and in the NFL, the opportunity was not there for a great african american assistant like Jim Skipper. His dream was to be a head coach and he had waited long enough. He couldn’t wait anymore and now he has gotten the opportunity to live out his dream with the San Fransisco Demons. The XFL has been a dream league for hardcore football fans and for pro football players and coaches who want to showcase their skills. Skipper has done a fantastic job with his team. The Demons have been hampered by injuries to their roster all season long, but they battled through adversity to surprise the critics. The offense is led by California legends, Mike Pawlawski and Pat Barnes. Pawlawski has battled through serious neck injuries to get to where he is now. Barnes has been a quality NFL backup and he has proven himself as a starter in college and NFL Europe. It looks like Skipper has a tough decision to make at Quarterback if Pawlawski is healthy. Barnes was fantastic last week in Orlando and it will be hard to sit him for this game. The Demons offense has been riddled with injuries but they have found alot of good young talents for the future in Calvin Anderson and Brian Roberson. Their passing attack runs through CFL Star, Jimmy Cunningham. The 5’7″ star has always played bigger then his stature and he is one of the league’s most exciting players. The San Fran defense has also played well this year and they are led by NFL veterans like Craig Powell, Dwayne Harper and Toby Wright. Their young defensive stars like Eric England, Jermaine Miles and Wendell Davis have also played extremely well. The football coaching and playing talent is there on both teams and their dreams and hopes have come down to this big game.

This is it, the final showcase for the XFL in year one. The stakes are high for both teams on so many levels. In a way, the XFL has one final chance to show what the league is all about. This is their showcase game. It could be the final XFL game for many of these players. Some will move on to the NFL. Some will be let go next season. For the league as a whole, People have been told to expect a second season. NBC or not. It remains to be seen whether or not, the XFL will continue on. If they don’t have a second season. Then Saturday will be their last ever game. The Xclamation point of a wild year and the Xclamation point to yet another football league.

— Mike Mitchell – MMitchell@xflboard. com

The Sports World Hates The XFL

(13 Apr 2001) –They hate us? or They Hate We?…… The Sporting World has made their agenda well known. They have two words for The XFL…. GO AWAY!…… Ever open your local newspaper or listen to your local sports radio? If you are looking for coverage of your favorite XFL team, Good luck! The only attention that the XFL gets is negative attention. The games are not taken seriously and the players and coaches are ignored. The sporting world has had a field day with the XFL’s ratings. Here are two numbers for you: 1.2 and 1.1. Those are The NHL’s ratings on ABC. I don’t see too many press releases on those stats. Anybody ever hear about NFL Europe ratings? Well I’ll tell ya, NFL Europe averaged a 0.3 on Fox Sports Net last season. Where’s the press on those figures? Have the XFL’s ratings been good? No, but are they comparable to other sports franchises? Yes.

Here are some more fascinating figures…Major League Soccer.. 0.2, Golf average 2.0 this year, NBA average on NBC, 2.3, Arena Football ratings average 0.2. Outside of Tiger Woods, Nascar, NCAA Finals and the NFL. Sports ratings are in a slow period. Let’s face it, the XFL has made alot of mistakes and their ratings have been a huge dissapointment. Last week, the XFL on NBC drew a 1.5. Only 1.4 million viewers watched the broadcast. The game only ranked 14th out of the top 20 rated sports programs on television. The UPN telecast ranked 19th. The XFL made alot of mistakes and hopefully as a brand new league they can fix their mistakes.

It’s a fact. History dictates that the only football that Americans want to see is the NFL and College. Even the mighty NFL failed miserably in trying to create a spring football league in the United States. Remember the World League of American Football. It lasted two years and is now known as NFL Europe. The CFL tried to expand to American teams. That didn’t work either. Everybody knows the story about the USFL. They tried to compete with The NFL head on and they lost big time. There have been many other spring leagues that have come and gone. The Arena League has survived as a small time league with unique features. Their attendance averages about 7,000 but it’s not pro football. It’s 50 yard ball in small arenas. The XFL, quite frankly, is trying to do something that has never been done. No 2nd US Pro Football League has made it since the AFL (now AFC) in the sixties. You can thank Joe Namath for that one.

The media points out the quality of the football. Eighty-three percent of the players in the XFL have spent time with NFL teams. Seventy-eight percent of the XFL’s players are 29 and younger. The XFL players are college all stars, NFL rookies and draft picks, NFL Veterans slashed because of the cap, CFL stars, Arena League stars and NFL Europe stars. All the media has to do is research the teams. I’m not making this stuff up. The information is available. Take a look at the rosters for yourself. The coaches have the same type of resumes. Recently a poll conducted with NFL employees shows that 89 percent of them support The XFL. The NFL of course, doesn’t want any of it’s employees coming out to make good remarks about the XFL. CBS president, Les Moonves has gone on record stating that he wants to use XFL features in next season’s NFL broadcasts.

For all the talk by the media about Vince McMahon’s entertainment shows, Dick Ebersol, NBC and the cheerleaders, the media has never bothered to focus on the players, coaches or the way that the XFL treats it’s fans and viewers. How many friendly stories have you seen about the XFL? Not many and if you have the positive publicity has come from NBC employees, XFL employees and the fans that have experienced the games. The last part of that group is all that really matters, the fans. This season, the XFL gave fans free trips to follow their teams. Some fans were even allowed on the field when a team won. A selected fan was granted a 2,500 dollar bonus. Now if that’s not catering to the fans. I don’t know what is. How often are sports fans treated like garbage. Hey if your favorite NFL team goes 7 and 9 get ready for a ticket increase. The same goes for other sports franchises. Not one media outlet mentioned how the XFL treated it’s fans. How many sports teams do you know that you would give you 2,500 dollars if your team won? When Chicago fans came out in a monsoon to watch their team the XFL gave those fans free tickets for the next home game. How cool is that! That’s why XFL games average 23,000 fans per game. Not bad for a startup league with bad or no publicity.

As a football fan, I want to see The XFL make it. I think it’s a shame that only 1,800 football players get to play pro ball in the states with The NFL. The XFL gives players and coaches a chance to showcase their skills in this great country. So many great young players get overlooked when they get out of college. Some have bad luck and get injured in the NFL and they never get another chance to play pro ball. The XFL gives players and coaches, the opportunity to prove themselves. Some players will benefit from having played in The XFL. They will move on to The NFL and get another chance to make it. The same goes for the coaches. Be on the lookout for Hitmen runningbacks coach, Joe Lombardi, and yes he’s related to the great Vince himself, the man, NFL’s very championship is named after, Vince Lombardi.

As for the fans, the XFL has been a fan friendly league that is willing to listen to us. They have screwed up in alot of instances but the effort has always been there. The rules and TV features have been great. There is still alot of room for improvement in certain areas. There will be alot of structural changes in the off-season. I don’t know if this league is going to make it. History tells me that it won’t, but I hope that it does. The league is a breath of fresh air and I hope that other sports leagues take notice and use some of the features and practices that Tthe XFL does.

I have a feeling that the sporting media will continue to ignore this league in the hopes that it will all go away. These same types made fun of the ABA’s 3 point shot. These same types ragged on the AFL’s teams, uniforms and rules. It’s not a good idea to walk around life with a closed mind, I remember a certain group of critics that told Christopher Columbus that he was a fool. They told him that the earth was flat and that his mission as pointless. Thank god, Good Ol’ Chris didn’t pay attention to the critics.

Mike Mitchell – mmitchell@xflboard.com

Archive: Bias Looks Bad on the Media

Until recently Ted Turner owned the WCW. Turner also owns the Atlanta Braves. Turner’s WCW did the very things that McMahon has been ridiculed for. Where is the media outrage for Turner’s team?

By Sonny Sanders – Bolts Team Reporter

Birmingham – (9 March 2001) — Rumors of the demise of the XFL are not new. Since the first announcement by Vince McMahon the media has forecast a short and inglorious reign for the XFL. Every media outlet has spewed forth negativity toward all aspects of the fledgling league.

The XFL was branded a sleazy bastardized version of the NFL. Rumors of proposed nudity and cheerleaders lap dancing with drunken fans spread like wildfire. The XFL would unleash every known perversion for all to see and would do so under the thinly veiled guise of professional football.

The football itself was slighted long before the first player was drafted. The media joked about the games being scripted and fixed. Even after legitimate coaches and players were signed the media’s blast of negativity continued to pound at the XFL. The media has helped sway public opinion to their side.

The XFL is not perfect and should also accept some blame for the loss of fans support. The announcers are not the best in the business but neither are they the worst that have ever covered a game. The talent on the field is below that of the NFL and the media has used this as a battering ram to bash the XFL at every opportunity. They fail to point out that NCAA talent is also inferior to the NFL.

What are the real problems that hinder the XFL? Is it bad games? The NFL has plenty of bad games each week. The NFC Championship game was one of the worst games ever. How many Superbowls have been great? The problem is not the announcers. Nor is it the cheerleaders, players, or level of competition.

The one aspect of the XFL that has the so-called media experts riled up is Vince McMahon. They perceive McMahon as one step above pornography. Their stance is that the WWF is sleazy and caters to the lowest common denominator. I am not going to debate the pros and cons of professional wrestling. It is what it is and does not claim to be anything more.

McMahon, as owner of the WWF, is not encouraged to participate in a legitimate sport. The media wants to persecute him for having the gall to enter into the arena of “real” sports. The media stands back with its high and mighty self-righteous attitude wagging its finger at McMahon and saying bad boy.

Behind all of this ranting about the evils of professional wrestling mixing with real sports is a dirty little secret that they have failed to mention. Until recently Ted Turner owned the WCW. A wrestling organization that is just as sleazy as the WWF was owned by the man that also owns the Atlanta Braves!! The WCW is no different than the WWF. There is partial nudity, profanity, and violence. Ted Turner’s company did the very things that McMahon has been ridiculed for.

Where was the outrage about Turner degrading the MLB and the Atlanta the Braves? Why is it that one man is viewed differently by the media and considered a pariah while another is accepted?

The media’s bias against McMahon is evident and is uncalled for. Football fans should be outraged by the media’s blatant attempt at telling you what you should like. The XFL is football. Is it the greatest football to ever be witnessed? No, but neither is the NFL. Should the XFL be subject to condemnation by the media solely because of McMahon’s involvement? No.

It is a shame that a league with so much promise may be doomed by unjustified criticism.

What Did You Expect From the XFL?

By Mike Mitchell

The XFL is simply a sporting event in a fashion that you have never seen before. It’s an experiment that’s ahead of its time in broadcast sports. It’s a league where team is more important then individuals. A league where success is rewarded and failures are reported. It’s a league that is free and fresh. A league where sports meets reality TV and where sports meets entertainment.

(1 March 2001) –The XFL has become a punching bag.

Never in the history of American sports has a sporting league been more scrutinized by the media and the public. When The XFL debuted, The sports media expected a three-ring circus. The public expected the most radical sporting league in history. The expectations were high and low.

The question is did both parties get what they expected?

The sports media wants this league to fail. After watching the inaugural broadcast of The XFL on NBC, the media needed only to decide what angle they were going to take. They were going to rip it all along regardless of the outcome or performance.

If cheerleaders were featured heavily, the XFL would have been signified as smut. The cheerleaders in the XFL are no different then any other sports team cheerleaders. So the media couldn’t use that angle to bash the league. Even though some still use that as an excuse.

When the play was proven to be legitimate and not scripted like a movie, television or wrestling. The sports media needed another angle. They went with “this is not the NFL” and why should anyone watch.

Believe it or not, the media has a huge role in painting the public’s perception. Not to say that the public can’t think for itself but the media has control to spin a story and make anyone look good or bad – whatever they want.

In this society, perception becomes reality. If the XFL is perceived by the media to be a league full of semi-pro football failures. Then the public will buy that line. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just look at the backgrounds of all the players in the league. If the media were to do their research, then they’d see the truth, but rest assured they wouldn’t mention it. Instead, The public is fed their agenda motivated garbage.

The public expected the XFL to be something different then any sports league that they have ever seen. Instead, what they got really was football with alot of entertainment features.

The entertainment fans wanted to get what they get out of the WWF. The WWF is kind of an entertainment hybrid. It’s a comic book, it’s cartoonish, it’s a live action, live theatre soap opera within sports setting. When one watches the WWF, they get athleticism, comedy, action, drama, violence and sexuality. WWF fans love the company because it’s a fast paced fantasy world that’s over the top but has the strong human elements of love, hate, competition and betrayal. It’s really a variety show and not just staged wrestling matches.

The WWF fan wanted to see an extreme football league with the same “out of this world” features that the WWF has. The live WWF shows have a rock concert feel. The XFL does not give WWF fans what they want. The XFL has some sexuality, But the stories are not strong enough yet and in the end despite all the fan friendly features, It’s just a football game.

The sports fans want to see good football and many of them expected the XFL to be entirely different then the NFL. The NFL is the king of sports franchises to a sports fan. Nothing can touch it. The sports fan watched the XFL to see if they can get into a new league. The XFL in some cases has provided football from a fresh new perspective but sports fans simply can’t get into a league where they have no loyal ties to any of these players or teams. They expected harder hitting football. The XFL takes you closer and lets you hear all the hits but besides that it’s really not that much more violent then NFL hits. Many of the Sports fans are familiar with some of the players because of their strong college backgrounds but the majority of them are clueless to the origins of the XFL players.

Did the sports fan and public get what they expected? No. Too much football for some not enough football for others. The XFL isn’t the NFL to sports fans. The XFL isn’t the WWF to wrestling fans. It’s hard to please people with those expectation levels.

What is the XFL then?

The XFL is simply a sporting event in a fashion that you have never seen before. It’s an experiment that’s ahead of its time in broadcast sports. It’s a league where team is more important then individuals. A league where success is rewarded and failures are reported. It’s a league that is free and fresh. A league where sports meets reality TV and where sports meets entertainment. Has NBC and WWFE combined those elements perfectly yet? No. Will they successfully put those elements together? Time will tell.

What did you expect?